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Club celebrates Arabic language, culture

Sam Stryker | Monday, March 22, 2010

Mendoza’s Jordan Auditorium hosted the third annual Arabic Culture Night Friday, as students were able to experience a variety of forms of performing arts from the Middle East.

The event consisted of several folkloric dances from Egypt and Lebanon as well as an oriental dance, a song, a poetry recitation, a comedy play and a slide show showcasing the program of Arabic Language and Culture.

All music, reading and dialogue was in Arabic and performed by students, most of whom are Arabic majors or Mediterranean/Middle East Studies minors.

Professor Ghada Bualuan, chair of the Arabic Department and director and producer of the event, said it was a great way for students to experience Arabic culture and for the performers at the event to showcase their talents.

“It was a unique opportunity to engage and explore the Arabic culture and forge a deeper connection to its people,” she said. “It was also an outlet for students of Arabic to perform on stage in the language and the culture that they are learning in the classroom.”

Sophomore Joseph Dufour, vice president of the Arabic Club, said the event was a special opportunity to share Arabic culture with the rest of the University.

“Students were able to enjoy song, dance, poetry and imagery that they wouldn’t otherwise likely get to experience at Notre Dame,” he said.  “It’s really a one-of-a-kind event and has grown in performances and popularity every year.”

Junior Victoria Braga, a member of the Arabic Club, said the format of the event has grown stronger with each passing year.

“Students attending the event hopefully learned more about Arabic Language and Culture,” she said. “This is the ultimate goal of the event, and we are happy that it seems the event has met its goal not only this year but in all of the past three years of its existence.”

Bualuan said the inspiration for an event to share Middle Eastern culture came from students and from her own husband.

“I started it two years ago with the idea of creating an opportunity for Arabic major students to connect to Arabic history and culture through music and arts,” she said. “Also, my husband produced several international festivals over 15 years ago at Notre Dame as a student, and I knew that his experience would be very useful.”

Dufour said the event was a success because it blended performance with education.
“Everyone there seemed to really enjoy the night whether they study Arabic or not,” he said. “It showcased aspects of the Arabic culture that people may not know about or [to people] who don’t study Arabic, especially since the readings and song in Arabic all had English translations on an accompanying slideshow to the event.”

Bualuan echoed Dufour’s sentiment, noting that attendance at the event was very strong, with Jordan Auditorium at standing room only capacity. She said over 350 students attended, and their response was positive.

“They were very excited, and the event has grown each year. I’ve already received many emails from students who were in the audience saying that they want to be part of the show next year,” she said.